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More than 30 Yokota airmen process through a decontamination line Thursday during the wing's Operational Readiness Exercise at Yokota Air Base, Japan.
More than 30 Yokota airmen process through a decontamination line Thursday during the wing's Operational Readiness Exercise at Yokota Air Base, Japan. (Courtesy of the U.S. Air Force)
More than 30 Yokota airmen process through a decontamination line Thursday during the wing's Operational Readiness Exercise at Yokota Air Base, Japan.
More than 30 Yokota airmen process through a decontamination line Thursday during the wing's Operational Readiness Exercise at Yokota Air Base, Japan. (Courtesy of the U.S. Air Force)
More than 30 Yokota airmen process through a decontamination line Thursday during the wing's Operational Readiness Exercise at Yokota Air Base, Japan.
More than 30 Yokota airmen process through a decontamination line Thursday during the wing's Operational Readiness Exercise at Yokota Air Base, Japan. (Courtesy of the U.S. Air Force)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Yokota servicemembers wrapped up their weeklong Operational Readiness Exercise on Friday, drawing praise from Col. Mark Schissler, who stamped his troops as fully prepared to stare down a real-world crisis.

“My confidence in them has risen significantly during the last week,” the 374th Airlift Wing commander said. “We handled and prepared cargo and processed passengers — and made sure forces were all ready to go into combat when they left here. We’re very good at that.

“We’re well-trained. We just need to work on the fine points now. We’ll spend the next six months just honing and sharpening what we do to a fine, precise edge.”

The wing performed numerous functions during the ORE, including the delivery of personnel, supplies and equipment. “Hostilities” on the Korean peninsula initiated by the enemy served as the drill’s launching point.

Yokota airmen generated multiple sorties, deployed hundreds of personnel, built and delivered cargo under pressure and tested the wing’s ability to survive and operate in nuclear, biological and chemical environments, officials said. The scenarios were pumped out by the base’s inspector general team, which also evaluated personnel as the ORE unfolded.

“The week became increasingly more challenging each day,” said Capt. David Westover, a 374th Airlift Wing spokesman. “We had to respond and react to the various scenarios.”

Faced with a brewing “conflict” in Korea, Yokota officials significantly expanded the operations tempo here by airlifting forces and cargo. The base essentially became a hub for everything being routed to the Korean peninsula, Schissler said.

“I’m very proud of how our airmen stepped up and adapted to the different tasks,” he added. “I’ve seen significant improvement in just about every area we’ve practiced. Over the next few months, we’ll get ourselves to where we need to be.”

Operations began Sept. 10 and were conducted around the clock.

“It was a stressful combat situation, and we worked hard to practice every combat skill we need,” Schissler said. “Our people did really well under difficult circumstances. They’re tired and deserve a rest. They’ll get one this weekend.”

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